Name: Lauren Alexander Koontz
Family: Brad Koontz (Grady College of Journalism – 1995); Kate Koontz (Elon University – freshman); Sam Koontz (The Mount Vernon School – sophomore); Ricki Bobbi (yellow lab) – on her name, I lost a bet to my husband!
Hometown: St. Simons Island, Georgia
Current Town: Atlanta, Georgia
What Years at UGA: 1992 – 1996
School/Degree: Terry College of Business, B.B.A.
Profession: President & CEO of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, I have the tremendous honor of leading one of the largest (and the oldest!) nonprofit organizations in metro Atlanta. Founded in 1858, the Y champions communities where everyone belongs and builds healthy mind, body and spirit.
In 2022, Lauren was recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of Atlanta’s Most Admired CEOs. In 2020, Lauren was named one of Atlanta Magazine’s Women Making a Mark.
Book: Any of Amor Towles books – Rules of Civilit y (1), A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway. These novels linger in your mind for years.
Magazine: Garden & Gun, Vanity Fair.
Podcast: The Daily, You Must Remember This, Smartless.
Instagram: @empireskyco – gorgeous photography and drone footage of St. Simons Island and the Golden Isles. (2)
Brand: The Coca-Cola Company – Does it get more iconic? They are the original Atlanta corporate citizen for good.
Fashion designer: Marie Oliver, Lilla P, Tuckernuck (3)
Interior designer: Jessica Bradley Interiors. She is so incredibly talented! (4)
Chef: Anthony Bourdain – I love how he used food and culture to expand our minds and perspectives. (5)
Historical figure: It is so hard to say that Vince Dooley is now a historical figure, but he is, of course, a legend. I had the chance to read alongside him to YMCA PreK students at the Georgia Capitol a few years ago, and it was an honor!
“Pour yourself a drink, Put on some lipstick, And pull yourself together”
– Elizabeth Taylor
Describe Athens in five words or less: Where You Grow Into Yourself.
Restaurants and bars: While I miss our old school spot, Gus Garcia’s, you can’t beat the rooftop bar of Georgia Theatre – drinks with a view of downtown Athens!
Shops: Heery’s, Monkees of Athens, Onward Reserve
Athens/campus landmark: The Steeple where R.E.M. played their first concert in 1980.
Memory while in school: Meeting my husband on the back porch of the old Sigma Nu house on River Road; laughing until my sides hurt with my Theta pledge sisters.
Professor/class: Chemistry 101 freshman year with Professor Ken Whitten. I learned quickly that Pre Med was not my future!
Gameday ritual/plan: Walk around downtown then through North Campus to John Straughan’s tailgate at the Tate Center parking lot, where you will most likely hear game insights from former UGA player, Kevin Butler!
Tailgate Recipe: I cheat! I pick up LadyFingers Shaved Ham Biscuits from Lucy’s Market in Atlanta or Uncle Don’s on St. Simons to bring to a tailgate!